USAICoE historians issue invitations to explore Fort Huachuca’s MI hot spots
A young Army private who is learning his trade at Fort Huachuca walks into Goddard Hall every day for 22 weeks. He listens to instructors talk about the field of Geospatial Intelligence, participates in highly technical group projects, and becomes an expert in analyzing overhead and aerial imagery developed by photographic and electronic means.
But does he have any idea why his classroom is in Goddard Hall? Has he ever wondered who Brig. Gen. George Goddard was?
The command group of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence is located in Alvarado Hall. Fitch Auditorium is the venue for graduations, conferences, retirements, town hall meetings and special events.
Do any of the people who work or attend meetings there ever wonder who Master Sgt. Lorenzo Alvarado and Lt. Gen. Alva Fitch were? What did these people do to deserve a building or room named after them? And why is there a bronze sphinx out in front of the building?
Now there is a resource that can answer these questions, that makes the intelligence heritage and history of Fort Huachuca available to anyone with a computer and Internet access. It is the MI History Virtual Tour, created in 2011 and recently updated in 2014.
The tour was initially created by the command historian as a distance learning tool so that MI Soldiers who were not physically stationed at Fort Huachuca but still had an MI History Education requirement could access the MI Museum for history training.
However, the potential for a greater audience and expanded educational opportunities became quickly apparent. For this reason, the tour was placed on the World Wide Web without restrictions.
Because of its status as the Home of Military Intelligence, there are a large number of Army Intelligence historical sites, memorials and learning opportunities on Fort Huachuca. The post’s streets, academic buildings, barracks — even physical training fields — are all legacies to the fort’s MI heritage.
These memorialized facilities were named for MI pioneers and heroes spanning the entire history of the U.S. Army. Some of these people were bestowed this honor due to a lifetime of contributions to the MI Corps. Others were MI Soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.
In all cases, these are places where the past comes forward and asks visitors to remember those who came before and paved the way for the modern Intelligence Soldier. All too often, as people breeze in and out of the buildings, they forget to pause and learn about the person whose name adorns the plaque in front.
Dedicated in 2010, the Army Intelligence Aviation Memorial Park, more commonly known as the “Air Park,” highlights the contributions and sacrifices made by intelligence aviators from the Civil War through the Global War on Terror. Displays range from static displays of both manned and unmanned aircraft to chronological story boards telling the history of Army aerial intelligence. A memorial stone with the names of MI Soldiers and aviators who gave their lives in pursuit of their mission also adorns the site.
The newest historical MI landmarks on Fort Huachuca were dedicated in 2012 as part of the 50th anniversary of the MI Branch and the 25th anniversary of the MI Corps.
The first of these is the MI Soldier Heritage Walkway, which links the academic complex with Prosser Village. The walkway is lined with 10 interpretive panels representing different conflicts in which the U.S. Army has fought. Each one highlights the contributions made by a single Soldier or a group of Soldiers. These stories are sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, often considered inspirational.
Most importantly, they represent the contributions of MI Soldiers from the enlisted and noncommissioned officer ranks. The hope is that as Soldiers walk and march on this path, they are inspired to read about their brothers- and sisters-in-arms and be motivated to know that even they can make a difference.
In addition, in front of Alvarado Hall, a new MI Crest Monument was unveiled in January 2013. Along with the sphinx, these monuments showcase the icons of MI heritage that every MI Soldier and Civilian should know by heart.
Finally, the Army Intelligence Museum has been located in the historic Old Post area of Fort Huachuca since 1995. As the only museum in the world dedicated to U.S. Army Intelligence, its exhibits highlight major campaigns as well as intelligence disciplines throughout the history of the Army.
The museum has been an integral part of the MI History Education Program since its beginnings, but its location far from the training areas has sometimes made it difficult for Soldiers to visit. Budget constraints, which made busing Soldiers to the area impossible, coupled with a training tempo that often did not allow the time required for a visit, caused this training to be dropped. An entire generation of MI Soldiers has therefore gone into their profession without a solid understanding of their own history and heritage. This is all changing.
In 2013, the Fort Huachuca museums were transferred from the Installation Management Command to the Training and Doctrine Command. This not only re-focused the mission of the museums to one of training and education, but it also freed up funds to relocate and improve on the current MI museum while making much-needed repairs to the Fort Huachuca museum. Because of ongoing renovations and the state of flux of the MI Museum, that part of the Virtual Tour has been left alone. The historian will schedule another upgrade when the renovation is complete.
In the meantime, these facilities are now available through the Internet, thanks to the work of the crew at Learning Integration Branch and the Knowledge Management Office. Go to https://www.ikn.army.mil/apps/MI_HISTORY_TOUR/index.html or search for “MI History Virtual Tour” in your browser. Click on the various tabs at the top and introduce yourself to the site. Pick an area to explore, then click on the tabs on the left side of the screen to navigate through the different locations. All the text and photos are reproduced on the background as one clicks through the different panels.
When touring the MI “hot spots” on Fort Huachuca, the historians hope visitors learn something about the Home of Military Intelligence, are inspired by the stories of those who came before, and gain pride and ownership in the heritage of the MI Branch and Corps.
Always Out Front!